Hours after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testified, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay commented on Ford’s testimony. While accepting the champion of hope award at Thursday night’s 17th annual Samsung Charity Gala, Hargitay said, “I cannot speak tonight without addressing the events of the day. I just want to say that I am and have always been deeply moved by courage. And I believe that is what I witnessed today.”

In part due to her portrayal of Olivia Benson on L&O: SVU, Hargitay created the Joyful Heart Foundation to help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. “I am very humbled to accept this award, especially during this time when so many extraordinary women’s voices — so many brave survivors — have brought so much long-awaited and deeply necessary change,” she said.

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Hargitay’s husband, Peter Hermann, stood by her. “These are women who are reaching out to a fictional character on TV,” he said. “She plays the s— out of her role. Not just as a character, but as a human with compassion in her response to survivors.”

Hargitay said that when she is asked which Joyful Heart program she is most proud of, she responds, “What I am most proud of is the fact that from the beginning, we have been adamant about keeping survivors at the center of everything we do.” She ended her speech saying, “I spent the better part of my day in a state of outrage, but also filled with enormous, enormous gratitude, and I am so grateful for the many advocates I have had the privilege of working with who have given their lives to this cause.”

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